School of Engineering

Staff Profile

Dr Peter Helm

Research Associate



I am a geotechnical engineer with experience in the computer modelling of shallow mining subsidence (as part of my PhD) and I have since undertaken hydrological and mechanical modelling of slopes and slope stability.

During my time at Newcastle University, I have worked as a research assistant on the BIONICS project, In 2011 I undertook a 1 year secondment into the geotechnics group of ARUP's Newcastle office working on slope stability modelling and then worked as an assistant lecturer teaching on both undergraduate and postgraduate modules in geotechnical engineering.  Since 2013 I have worked as a research associate on the EPSRC funded iSMART project.


  • 2002 - BSc - Geology - Durham University
  • 2004 - MSc - Geotechnical Engineering - Newcastle University
  • 2011 - PhD - Analysis of the stability of shallow abandoned colliery workings - Newcastle University


  • Fellow of the Geological Society
  • Member of the British Geotechnical Association
  • TUD COST Action TU1202 member

Grants and Awards

  • Co-organiser of an International Training School entitled ‘The Vadose Zone Workshop’. An event for European Early Stage Researchers convened at Durham University (15,000 EUR) - Responsible for the numerical modelling component of the workshop
  • Awarded funding to undertake a collaborative scoping study into improving the derivation of vegetation parameters for numerical modelling (£9910)


I have experience of teaching on the following undergraduate civil engineering and postgraduate MSc geotechnical engineering and engineering geology modules:

  • CEG2201: Geotechnics
  • CEG2001: Design of Sustainable Engineering Systems 2
  • CEG3001: Design of Sustainable Engineering Systems 3
  • CEG8201: Geomechanics
  • CEG8202: Ground Investigation - Design, Principles and Practice
  • CEG8208: Geotechnical Design




    Research to date has focussed on applied computational geomechanics to investigate shallow mining subsidence as well as rainfall induced slope instability, using software such as the FDM and FEM codes FLAC 3D and PLAXIS as well as LE codes such as SLOPE.

    Currently I am working on the EPSRC funded iSMART project (Infrastructure slopes Sustainable Management And Resilience Assessment):

    This involves modelling of the effects of meteorological parameters on pore water pressures in infrastructure slopes and how this in turn affects their stability. This is primarily undertaken with the hydrological code SHETRAN and the geomechanics modelling code FLAC (with the two phase flow add on to allow the modelling of partially saturated flow behaviour).

    In the past I worked as a research assistant on the BIONICS project (Biological and engineering impacts of climate on slopes) and was seconded into a consultancy firm where I undertook validation of their finite element software for use in slope stability analysis.